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Table Tennis: Liu beats Wu in all-China final to retain World Cup in Kobe

World No. 1 Liu Shiwen (centre), flanked by compatriot Wu Yang (left), the runner-up, and third-placed Feng Tianwei of Singapore, the World No. 4. Photo ITTF.

World No. 1 Liu Shiwen (centre), flanked by compatriot Wu Yang (left), the runner-up, and third-placed Feng Tianwei of Singapore, the World No. 4. Photo ITTF.

September 23, 2013: World No. 1 Liu Shiwen lived up to her as the world’s best table tennis player by claiming gold at the Starts ITTF Women’s World Cup in Kobe, Japan.

 

The 22-year-old, who first topped the world ranking when she was 18, beat compatriot Wu Yang 11-3, 11-7, 11-7, 11-2 on Sunday to claim her third World Cup in three attempts (2009, 2012, 2013), making her the youngest player in history to win three titles.

 

“It’s an honour for me to win the World Cup for the third time. This has given me a lot of confidence, which will hopefully allow me to realise my dreams of becoming a world and Olympic champion,” said Liu, who reclaimed top spot this month after 18 months as number two or three.

 

Liu, 22, also won the World cup in 2009 and last year.

Liu, 22, also won the World cup in 2009 and last year.

“I’m thrilled to be playing the World Cup in Japan, where the crowd has been very supportive and is knowledgeable about the sport. I hope I’ll be able to carry this streak forward to next year for the World Team Championships in Tokyo, when we’ll be defending our title for China.”

 

Despite cruising through the final 4-0, Liu said that the match against the taller Wu, the World No. 6, was not as straightforward as it seemed.

 

“Our levels are not that far apart,” Liu said. “The main difference is that I have more experience and Wu was more nervous due to this being her first World Cup.”

 

Wu, 21, managed to take some positives out of her defeat to Liu, such as reaching the final at her first attempt.

 

“As this was my first World Cup, I was happy that I was able to show the world my level,” Wu said. “I now need to go home and practise my tactics for these big matches, so next time I can win.”

 

Wu Yang, 21, reached the final in her first World Cup.

Wu Yang, 21, reached the final in her first World Cup.

Feng Tianwei of Singapore repeated her heroics from London 2012 to claim bronze, the World No. 4 outclassing Hong Kong’s Jiang Hua-jun 11-6, 13-11, 12-10, 11-2.

 

“Overall I’m satisfied with my performance and happy that despite the difficulties I faced in this high-level event, I was able to bring home the bronze medal,” Feng said.

 

“I’m looking forward to coming back to Japan next year for the World Team Table Tennis Championships, where I hope I can help Singapore win another medal.”

 

The 17th edition of the Women’s World Cup featured 20 players from every continent who qualified from their respective Continental Cups.

 

The big crowds for the three-day event have built up anticipation ahead of next year’s ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships, which will be held in Tokyo from April 28-May 5.

 

The Liebherr Men’s World Cup, which follows the same format as the 20-player women’s event, is the next event on the ITTF calendar and will be held in Verviers, Belgium from October 25-27.

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